(Pasadena, CA) ““ In February 2007, the FBI officially launched a new investigative effort called the Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative, which was tasked with taking a fresh look at racially-motivated homicide investigations that occurred prior to 1970. Since then, over 100 cold cases have been identified for this initiative as the FBI partnered with local and state authorities, the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Urban League to help investigate these aging unsolved cases and bring justice to the victims’ families. In an effort to bring attention to these important investigations, Investigation Discovery teamed with critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, producer of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, and CBS EYE Productions to showcase three cases included in the FBI’s Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative. In commemoration of Black History Month, Investigation Discovery launches THE INJUSTICE FILES, on Friday, February 18 at 9 PM ET.
Beauchamp found his calling as a filmmaker through his documentary about the story of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who in August 1955 was abducted and tortured to death because he whistled at a white woman. Suspects were arrested for the murder, but they were all acquitted by all white juries. This story of a young boy, who was beaten, shot, and thrown in a river, ignited the early civil rights movement. Decades later, the case was re-opened by the FBI because Beauchamp uncovered new information, bolstered by his ability as a filmmaker to reach deep into the communities where these crimes occurred and connect with potential witnesses who otherwise might not come forward. Since his experience making The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, Beauchamp has become passionate about seeking justice for these families and assisting the FBI by developing new leads for some of their unsolved cases from this troubled chapter in American history. For THE INJUSTICE FILES, Beauchamp combs through records; interviews family members, witnesses and investigators; and pieces together the known facts of each case. Beauchamp attempts to interview potential suspects and individuals who may know who was responsible for these murders, sometimes confronting them in their driveways after attempts to contact them for interviews prove unsuccessful.
“Notwithstanding the wisdom of the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that “˜justice delayed is justice denied,’ THE INJUSTICE FILES re-examines some of the most shocking and heinous cold cases
from America’s Civil Rights Era ““ the hate crimes of their time,” said Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Investigation Discovery. “We are thrilled to be working with Keith Beauchamp, one of America’s leading investigative documentarians, and the venerable team working with CBS News’ Susan Zirinsky as partners on THE INJUSTICE FILES. This series shines a spotlight on these unsolved mysteries that haunt our shared history and helps raise awareness that there are still perpetrators out there and people with information need to step forward and assist the FBI to bring closure for the families and communities scarred by these despicable acts.”
Cynthia Deitle, Unit Chief for the Civil Rights Unit of the FBI, is interviewed for THE INJUSTICE FILES and provides context to the ongoing efforts the FBI has dedicated to bringing closure to cases included in the Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative. As Beauchamp explores the stories behind these horrific crimes, Unit Chief Deitle hopes the additional attention for these cases might provide new leads and witnesses willing to share information that may lead to finding who is ultimately responsible. Time has passed, witnesses have disappeared and memories have faded, but Beauchamp’s efforts are developing new opportunities for justice to be served. THE INJUSTICE FILES profiles the following three cases:
“¢ The Secrets of Natchez – World Premiere: Friday, February 18 at 9PM ET
After taking a promotion at the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Factory in Natchez, Mississippi, Wharlest Jackson, father of five and treasurer for the local chapter of the NAACP, was murdered with a car bomb. Hearing the explosion, Wharlest Jackson’s son rode his bike to the scene of the crime and unfortunately witnessed the results of this sophisticated murder plot.
“¢ The Ghosts of Bogalusa – World Premiere: Friday, February 25 at 9PM ET
The first two African-American police officers in Bogalusa, Louisiana were gunned down while on patrol. Deputy Sheriff Oneal Moore died instantly, but Deputy Sheriff David Creed Rogers was able to call in a description of the pick-up truck used in the drive-by shooting.
“¢ He Walked Alone – World Premiere: Friday, March 4 at 9PM ET
William Lewis Moore was an activist who planned a peaceful protest ““ a solo Freedom Walk from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to hand deliver a letter to the Governor of Mississippi urging for full human rights to African Americans. Despite friends, family and law enforcement warning him about the dangers of the journey, Moore started his walk, which ended when his body was found on the side of a road in Alabama.
THE INJUSTICE FILES is produced for Investigation Discovery by CBS EYE Productions with executive producer Susan Zirinsky and co-executive producers Nancy Kramer and Hal Gessner. For Investigation Discovery, Diana Sperrazza is executive producer, Sara Kozak is vice president of production and Henry Schleiff is president and general manager.
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID), America’s leading investigation network, is the source for fact-based investigative content about culture, history and the human condition. Providing the highest quality investigative programming focused on fascinating stories of human nature from the past to the present, Investigation Discovery’s in-depth documentaries and series challenge viewers on important issues shaping our culture and defining our world. As the premier authority in real investigations, ID is expanding partnerships with established news organizations and production companies to bring the strongest analytic, factual investigative and current affairs programming to over 70 million U.S. households. For more information, please visit investigationdiscovery.com
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